A physics degree is a great starting point for a career in scientific research, as well as in a range of careers in the business, finance, IT and engineering sectors.
Physics graduates are particularly attractive to companies outside the scientific industries because of their skills in analysing information and solving complex problems, and their high levels of numeracy and computer literacy.
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- Institute of Physics
Astronomy and Space
Astronomy is basically the study of everything outside of the Earth and its atmosphere; this includes the stars, planets and galaxies that make up our universe. A career in astronomy gives you the opportunity to observe the stars and planets, furthering our knowledge of the universe. If this sounds worthwhile, discover the skills and qualifications you'll need to become an astronomer
The career paths in astrophysics and space technology can roughly be split into three areas:
- Scientific- Scientific positions will often be available in governmental or transnational space agencies. These opportunities are available in various specialist areas, including astrophysical and cosmological data analysis, mission conception, mission control, astronautical programmes and advanced concept development. These institutions will also have close links to universities that will often conduct complimentary research and design instrumentation for scientific missions
- Technological- On the technology side of things, both small innovative companies and transnational industrial giants will design and construct all manner of spacecraft and associated ground systems. The people who work in these departments get involved throughout the complete lifecycle of a mission, from initial feasibility studies, through design, manufacture and launch and finally to eventual decommissioning and disposal.
- The variety of spacecraft been worked on can be incredibly broad and may include: telecommunication satellites, Earth observation systems for disaster response and climate change monitoring, and bespoke extra-terrestrial probes and rover vehicles.
- Operational - Professional space careers on the operations side of things are also incredibly important. A number of companies exist purely to operate satellites, lease bandwidth and sell data to other companies. These companies will also handle the day-to-day attitude and orbit control of the spacecraft, as well as more unconventional instances such as collision avoidance.
Astronomy graduates possess high-level problem solving, numeracy, statistical and programming skills that are in demand with many employers within the tech and finance industries. Astronomy graduates also have a level of technical knowledge and logical thinking that can also translate to areas of the law profession, such as patent law